- Customer Appreciation
- Memorial Day
- Road Commissioners
- Pot Regs
- Immigration Signs
- Big Band
- School Architecture
- Bradd Reading
- Interview Refusal
- Doctor Doo
- Little Dog
- Four Cranberries
- Ukiah Stabbing
- Hare Creek
- Croskey Appointment
- Yesterday's Catch
- Election Tampering
- Russian Connections
- Low-info Voters
- Oily Government
- Chanting Videos
- Mendo Clampers
- CEO Report
- GOP Ashes
- County Vacancies
CUSTOMER APPRECIATION GALA! Anderson Valley Farm Supply, Friday, May 19th, which is THIS Friday. Specific festivities kick off at noon, deals all day. Food, drink and red geraniums!
MEMORIAL DAY IN BOONVILLE. The Redwood Empire American Legion Post 385 wishes to announce our annual Memorial Day observance at the Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way in Boonville. This event will offer remembrances for local veterans now deceased and their loved ones. The event will begin with the raising of the flag at 10:00 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th at 10am and will be led by our local Commander, Patrick Ford.
The accompanying photo of Legionnaires was taken at last year's ceremony. We also wish to invite all local veterans not yet affiliated with our post to become active members. We meet the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00p.m. at the Veteran's Hall next to the Fair Grounds. We begin with refreshments and a social hour followed by our monthly 7:00 p.m. meeting. Throughout the year we and our families also enjoy special events and participate in several community services activities. Those interested contact our membership chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-684-0043. (Gregory Sims, membership chair)
COUNTY ROADS BOSS, Howard Deshield, agrees that County roads are in bad shape, worse after the big rains of the past winter. Deshield and his shorthanded crew truly went above and beyond keeping County roads open during the storms, or had them open very soon after big storms closed them. Right here in the Anderson Valley, under the direction of local guy WT Johnson, Deshield’s County crews not only kept the roads clear, they managed to install a hurry-up bridge on Peachland Road that enabled a large number of Peachland people to get back a forth to schools and jobs every day.
BUT DESHIELD is operating under severe budget restrictions. He does the best he can with limited personnel and limited money for everything he reasonably requires to get ‘er done. Used to be that Supervisors were called “Road Commissioners,” in implicit recognition of their primary function. With the evolution or, as some of us might prefer, devolution of modern Mendo, local government included a plethora of additional functions, including a radical expansion of government itself with its ever-larger salaries for top people and retirement obligations for all them. And here we are with not much in the way of local government getting done efficiently or getting done at all. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the purpose of local government has become itself.
JUST WHEN you thought the pot regulation picture was coming into focus as Mendo wrapped up its bureaucratically absurd cultivation regs, the pot brigades are now faced with a whole new set of state regs that will overlap and perhaps supersede the County rule book.
A HEARING on the state regs is set for Thursday, May 25 from 1 to 3 PM in the Ukiah Conference Center at 200 South School Street. Up for discussion will be 56 pages of draft regulations with only a 45 day public comment period. It will be interesting to watch county officials meld their unenforceable rules with the state’s equivalently unenforceable regs. The deadline for comments on the Ag Department’s draft regs is Wednesday, June 14, 5 PM.
BOTTOM LINE? Local pot growers will not pay, or be able to pay, the $30-40,000 mordida payoffs to buy themselves bust exemptions. The people who can pay will be outside mega-pot businesses.
THESE SIGNS are popping up everywhere. We agree with the sentiment, but with this caveat: The immigrant neighbors who play boom boxes full blast at all hours and keep pit bulls chained up all day in their litter-strewn backyards are not good neighbors, but are non-English-speaking persons who daily express contempt for their neighbors. We have a neighbor like that in Boonville, and we don’t feel especially welcoming.
BOONVILLE BIG BAND IN BOONVILLE JUNE 3
The Swingin' Boonville Big Band is playing at Lauren's in
Boonville on Saturday, June 3, 2017.
Dinner is served from 5-9 PM; the band plays from 9 — 11 PM. Dance floor bigger than one would expect; tables are moved around after dinner. Tickets $5, all proceeds benefit the AV Adult Education Department. Friendly door dragon. Beer/wine bar open late.
THE PHOTOS sent along by Valley old timer (in exile) Norm Clow, constitute a kind of case study in the retrogression of school architecture and, along with it, community. Anderson Valley’s graceful old high school and adjoining elementary classrooms descend from a time when beauty was the primary consideration in the construction of public buildings, but beauty was abandoned everywhere in the land, not just here, and in its place arose coast-to-coast schools that look, and are managed like, medium-security prisons.
BE THERE! Bill Bradd will read from “New Continent of Ghosts,” his latest book, at the Caspar Community Center, Thursday May 25th, 4-6pm. A lively writer with a unique perspective on his adopted land — Bill may still technically be a Canadian — Bradd’s a guy worth listening to.
WHAT’S WRONG at Coast Hospital? This guy for one thing: “…For an update on the status of maternity care, the ICO turned to MCDH CEO Bob Edwards. He seemed the obvious choice, but he refused to be interviewed for this article without being given the opportunity to approve or disapprove the article in advance….”
DOC DOO’S many fans are wondering where the Doc went when he disappeared from the AVA’s tumultuous pages. The talented artist, who sometimes goes by Fred Sternkopf, is at home in Caspar, fighting off cancer. All of us who know and admire him are confident Doc can beat it.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm not a specie-ist! But, caramba! these people have bird feeders and bird houses all over the place. Maybe they don't want me around anymore. Maybe they've gone to the birds!”
THE CASE OF THE FOUR DRIED CRANBERRIES
Replying to the unsigned letter supposedly from the Co-op staff, I want to clarify the inaccuracies and outright falsehood in the letter.
Inaccuracies: Only one person has spoken to me about tasting anything at the Co-op, that is the store manager. For tasting four dried cranberries to see if they would be good in the black bean soup, the manager and a male employee swooped down from their upstairs surveillance camera to confront me. Lori asked me to meet her outside the Coop for a lecture on “consumption theft.” I responded that the whole thing was ridiculous. I told the manager that she was petty, that there were more important matters than this. I suggested that she place little taster cups on the counter like other health food stores do. Laurie was adamant, “NO!”
I pointed out that for years she opposed placing a table at the soup bar because ”there was no room”. She countered that I was “changing the subject”, as though I should stand there and be scolded like a child. I went back to eat my soup. Her idea is that a customer must look for an employee to hand you the four dried cranberries. According to Laurie, the penalty for trying for cranberries is possible expulsion from the Co-op and invalidation of a fully paid lifetime membership in the Co-op, without offering to return my membership fees. Wouldn’t it be preferable to legalize trying the berries in soup with little thimble sized cups? Recently I made the mistake of ordering the lentil soup without tasting. Unfortunately, as happens frequently, the lentils were rock hard. Lentils and beans should be cooked soft or sprouted, not to be chomped on like little soup stones. It would be welcome if the Co-op “staff” would find local soup providers who would respond to customer dissatisfaction with uncooked legumes.
The falsehood: The accusation that I have put my hands into the food bins (without using the scoops) is untrue. Laurie would not tell me who was responsible for this statement, only saying that it was another customer. This was either a faulty perception or a barefaced lie. Perhaps the mysterious customer should peruse some of the studies and experiments on accuracy of observation.
Why am I targeted for something so petty, so insignificant? Is it because I openly disagreed with the manager’s decision to replace the old juicer which is incapable of juicing green leafy vegetables with the same machine? An abundance of leafy green vegetables is recommended for people suffering from the lyme disease epidemic. The manager overrode the recommendation of the juice bar employees to purchase a somewhat more expensive cold press juicer, as it would quickly pay for itself. So many decisions in our contemporary society are made because of cost only. Money and profit are trumping the public good across much of the political spectrum from our local supervisors to the congress, senate, president and supreme court. The political class is the moneyed class, so money rules. Our value system needs to be rethought.
I am not the only person targeted for a taste by the Orwellian big brother, big sister upstairs video watchers. Another customer confided in me saying that the Co-op is the only store where he has ever had a problem in his whole life. Fearful of losing access to the Co-op, he did not want to be named. The actual accusation was “Eating your way thru the Co-op and theft, a crime. To remedy the matter I placed 4 dried cranberries in a tiny paper cup. The scale would not read such a tiny amount of product, so one of the employees placed a penny on the scale. No reading. Adding a nickel produced a 6 cent reading. Here are some of the figures of money I have spent recently at the Co-op.
5/5/17. $41.00. And 6 cents.
A reminder: Co-op members are Co-op owners.
Dorotheya M Dorman
UKIAH POLICE SEARCH FOR STABBING SUSPECT
by Glenda Anderson
Ukiah police are seeking help tracking down the attacker in an early Saturday morning stabbing. Police learned of the stabbing about 3 a.m. when they were dispatched to Ukiah Valley Medical Center regarding an assault victim with multiple stab wounds. The victim told them he was on the 200 block of Observatory Avenue near an apartment complex when he was stabbed from behind. He said he could not identify his attacker. The stabbing victim was transported to an out-of-area hospital for treatment because of the severity of his injuries, police said. Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact the Ukiah Police Department’s detective division at 707-463-6262.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
FORT BRAGG NOTES
by Rex Gressett
I was a tad late to the mayor’s Monday morning meeting to my distress since I wanted to see Lindy's reaction to the weekend’s Facebook posts.
Joe Wagner, my excellent friend and radio impresario on our rocking low power alternative station, made a precision, high impact, direct hit on the moving target that is mayor Lindy and incidentally wacked a solid dent into the sneaky and dishonest system with which they are endeavoring with such constancy to enslave us.
Under discussion on the highly central and indispensable mendocinosportsplus was a piece I had written which discussed the legal rule under which a councilman must not express views on any subject which is going to be discussed in a hearing. This procedural fiction is generally used to mask the reality that councilmen do have views and also prejudices and opinions. They both support and oppose various policies. By California law they may have opinions but they must not express them. That is their version of honesty. The city manager used this rule to cast the city council into the outer darkness on Hare Creek. She scared them.
Lindy posted his grasp of the gag order and justified it in his inimitable way. Joe pointed out that there was a hearing (on the Old Coast Hotel) in which Lindy did not only speak out he actually went campaigning, getting the boot when he wanted to talk to the veterans who did not feel comfortable being enlisted into Lindy’s “political” campaign (it certainly was that) for the Old Coast Hotel boondoggle. Lindy got the law straightened out in his comprehension sometime after that and was letting people know it on Facebook.
The City Manager Linda Ruffing used a protocol to imply to the council that they could not address or consider or in any sense protect the community from plowing up Hare Creek meadow for a big box. Linda told them the law but seems by omission of context to have made it effectively not only a gag order but a total obstruction to council participation in one of the most important issues to come before the city.
The big box project will impact the city in many ways. Some people think it is worth it. For discount canned goods they will do and permit much. But on a windy day in the ocean washed sunshine in the midst of grassy meadows it is pretty nice, I know my impressions are personal but I still think 20 minutes of it will convince anyone. This rolling green land is of the ocean, whatever the Coastal Commission with its snobbery and insensitivity holds. Hare Creek meadow is a place you can see and hear and smell the ocean and where you can smell the grass and feel the sun. You can fly kites with your kids, you can run the dog, and people do. It might be an extravagance, it might be costly. I don’t think it will be but it might be. It is also the best thing that we can leave to our kids, and our grandkids and our great grandkids. It should be theirs this common land. It really should be community property. We must make it that.
I don’t blame the city council for falling for Linda's line. They trust her. She told them to keep their mouths shut because it was the law. I don’t blame them for not understanding how basic it is that council has the right and obligation to lead the community in a matter of this importance. It is their job to find vision, to build the consensus to lead. It is their responsibility to do the best thing for our community. Whatever the city manager has told them, that mission cannot be handcuffed by a procedural nicety.
I do not blame them either given this newest embarrassment. But I do entirely trust them to grapple with the large issues that are before the community. The council is very new in its office. The city manager has a dismal history of deceit and deception. Her control over the city government and over the council is almost total. From the contemptible treatment accorded Scott Mayberry to the scandalously questionable Old Coast Hotel deal to the present gag order and moratorium on initiative, the hand of the city manager has long overshadowed the council and run roughshod over the sensibilities of the city.
The city council needs the help of the community. In two city council elections voters have given office to men who told us that they would stand up for us. In practice as it turns out the City Council is at best an adjudicative body. They react and review and they will approve. They do not originate. Origination, elaboration and expression of important community goals is not going to come from the council. Not on Hare Creek. But if the people lead the council will have to follow.
GOVERNOR'S PUZZLING THIRD DISTRICT APPOINTMENT
Oddly curious decision by Gov. Jerry Brown.
by Jim Shields
I'm talking about his appointment of Georgeanne Croskey to the vacant 3rd District Supervisor position on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Let me say this at the outset, what I'm about to say is not about Ms Croskey, it is about a failure in the process of how this appointment was made. She had nothing to do with that process other than submit an application for appointment to the Governor's office. The failure lies with the governor. Here's why.
Many people in the Third District don't know Croskey or anything about her. Her only experience in local government here is she was appointed to a vacant position on the Willits school board in October of 2015.
She has never run for an elected office, so obviously she has no experience in electoral politics. She's never had to stand before voters and explain to them why they should entrust her to represent them. That is the most important and critical part of our electoral process: facing the voters. As a former long-time elected official, I've always said the only qualification to holding office is to get the most votes. The voters decide if you're qualified or not. That tenet is the only one that counts — literally.
However, when it comes to appointments to vacant elected positions, it's a different deal.
Case in point is the Third District vacancy. It came about when then-Supervisor Tom Woodhouse resigned in early December of last year due to health reasons. His position has been unoccupied and Third District citizens have been unrepresented since then. That's nearly six months folks have not had someone representing their interests on the Board of Supervisors. During that period, the Board has been dealing with a deteriorating mental health system, a county road network that is falling apart that's been made worse by this winter's historic deluge, 18 months of stop-start action on marijuana rule-making that's not complete yet, and now it's budget talk time.
These are all big issues that need big thinking and require big problem-solving capability.
There's about 18 months left in the term of office for Third District Supervisor. That's not a whole lot time for a political neophyte to learn everything that needs to be learned about the job of a county supervisor, especially given the fact that the clock is running right now on a whole host of knotty issues and problems.
That's why the Board of Supervisors, myself, the Ukiah Daily Journal, and many others urged Gov. Brown to appoint somebody with governing experience to fill the Third District vacancy. We recommended he select former long-time supervisor and Laytonville homeboy, John Pinches. Others backed former Willits mayor and city council member Holly Madrigal. We all knew and were in agreement that given the current state of affairs in this county, that it was vital to appoint somebody with political and governing experience who could literally hit the ground running and get to work immediately as a fully functioning county supervisor.
There would have been no learning curve for either Pinches or Madrigal. They would have stepped in from day one and, in all likelihood, the transition would have been seamless.
In a published report in the Mendocino Voice, Croskey said the following on her appointment, "At this point I don't want to speak for the board before I have more information, I'm not privy to a lot of closed-door discussions. And I have a lot of work to do to get some more background information before I come out with my positions on issues."
The "closed-door" comment is interesting. Evidently, Croskey is not aware of the state's open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, which governs the local governing decision-making process. Close-door discussions are strictly illegal. Elected officials can only make their decisions in one forum: Open public meetings.
It's surprising that Croskey, who has served on the Willits school board for the past 18 months as an appointee, is not aware of the Brown Act's ban on closed-door dealing, it's basic local government 101. It's a major violation of the law. I thought Madrigal's comment on the situation was on point when she said, "I wish the Third District the best of luck."
Here's the statement Gov. Brown's office released on Wednesday, announcing the appointment.
"Georgeanne Croskey, 38, of Willits, has been appointed to represent the third district on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Croskey has been a veterinarian at Mendocino Equine and Livestock since 2012. She was an extern at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center from 2008 to 2010, veterinary assistant at the Paws Inn Animal Hospital from 2005 to 2006 and a captain in the US Air Force from 2000 to 2005. She earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ohio State University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $61,200. Croskey is registered without party preference."
Gov. Brown was dead wrong on his decision in this case, and I say that as someone who generally supports him. The people of this county deserved a hell of a lot more respect and better treatment than he gave them. So, I guess I'll join Holly in wishing the Third District the best of luck.
(Courtesy, The Mendocino County Observer)
CATCH OF THE DAY, MAY 15, 2017
JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, suspended license.
JESSE GIBSON, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.
RICHARD HOWE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
BENJAMIN KEATOR, Redwood Valley. DUI-drugs&alcohol, evasion, false ID, probation revocation.
JOSE MALDONADO, Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.
TANNER MCCOY, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
ROY MCGREGOR, Fort Bragg. Public nuisance, disturbing the peace.
JAVIER MENDEZ, Ukiah. Vehicle theft.
GAY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RYAN ROYDOWNEY, Covelo. Failure to appear.
JUSTIN SWINNEY, Fort Bragg. Burglary, vandalism, dirk-dagger, probation revocation.
RUSSIAN ELECTION MEDDLING DOCUMENTED!
by Fred Gardner
For months we have all been force-fed a story few of us can digest about the hacking of the Democratic Party's email servers, presumably by Russians commanded by Vladimir Putin himself. The pundits say, "Nothing like this happens in Russia without Putin's approval," as if they actually knew what was done by who.
It is unclear how the contents of the DNC emails are supposed to have swayed the US electorate. Was anyone shocked to learn that Mrs. Clinton's campaign managers were manipulative, lame, and fearful of Bernie Sanders?
The current brouhaha is utterly trivial compared to the extreme, direct interference US government-connected campaign professionals in the election that solidified oligarchy in Russia.* Ahoy, out there in the United States of Amnesia…
A team of US political consultants operating clandestinely in Moscow was paid $250,000 plus expenses to help a very unpopular Boris Yeltsin get re-elected as Russia's president in 1996. After Yeltsin's victory a Time Magazine cover story credited the consultants with engineering it. "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of how American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win," ran the text under a graphic of Yeltsin holding a little stars-and-stripes flag.
ABC News on "Nightline" also glorified the consultants' exploits. In due course, so did a Showtime movie starring Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber.
The Time story implied that US President Bill Clinton gave the consultants —and Yeltsin— crucial help. As reported by Michael Kramer in the issue dated July 15:
...Yeltsin is arguably the best hope Russia has for moving toward pluralism and an open economy. By re-electing him, the Russians defied predictions that they might willingly resubmit themselves to communist rule.
The outcome was by no means inevitable. Last winter Yeltsin's approval ratings were in the single digits. There are many reasons for his change in fortune, but a crucial one has remained a secret. For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign...
Kramer identifies Felix Braynin, "a wealthy management consultant who advises Americans interested in investing in Russia," as the man who pushed to hire US campaign professionals on Yeltsin's behalf.
Braynin was instructed to "find some Americans" but to proceed discreetly. "Secrecy was paramount," says Braynin. "Everyone realized that if the Communists knew about this before the election, they would attack Yeltsin as an American tool. We badly needed the team, but having them was a big risk."
To "find some Americans," Braynin worked through Fred Lowell, a San Francisco lawyer with close ties to California's Republican Party. On Feb. 14, Lowell called Joe Shumate, a G.O.P. expert in political data analysis who had served as deputy chief of staff to California Governor Pete Wilson. Since Wilson's drive for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination had ended almost before it began, Lowell thought Shumate and George Gorton, Wilson's longtime top strategist, might be available to help Yeltsin. They were —and they immediately enlisted Richard Dresner, a New York-based consultant who had worked with them on many of Wilson's campaigns.
Gov. Pete Wilson had undergone throat surgery which weakened his voice, and his head wobbled like a bobblehead doll when he spoke. Wilson had vetoed medical marijuana bills passed by the California legislature in 1994 and 1995. Grass-roots activists then drafted the initiative that made the ballot in 1996 as Proposition 215, and changed history.
Dresner had another connection that would prove useful later on. In the late 1970s and early '80s, he had joined with Dick Morris to help Bill Clinton get elected Governor of Arkansas. As Clinton's current political guru, Morris became the middleman on those few occasions when the Americans sought the Administration's help in Yeltsin's re-election drive. So while Clinton was uninvolved with Yeltsin's recruitment of the American advisers, the Administration knew of their existence —and although Dresner denies dealing with Morris, three other sources have told Time that on at least two occasions the team's contacts with Morris were "helpful."
Dick Morris was Bill Clinton's campaign manager in 1996. He is widely credited with the "Triangulation" strategy whereby the Democrats became barely distinguishable from the Republicans. He fell from grace after it was revealed that he let a prostitute listen in on his phone calls with the President. Morris's wife insisted that he convert to Roman Catholicism. He did and thus the marriage was saved. And now back to Kramer in Time:
A week after the Valentine's Day call from Lowell, Dresner was in Moscow. The Yeltsin campaign was at sea. Five candidates, led by Communist Gennadi Zyuganov, were ahead of Yeltsin in some polls. The President was favored by only 6% of the electorate and was "trusted" as a competent leader by an even smaller proportion...
To preserve security, a contract was drawn between the International Industrial Bancorp Inc. of San Francisco (a company Braynin managed for its Moscow parent) and Dresner-Wickers (Dresner's consulting firm in Bedford Hills, New York). The Americans would work for four months, beginning March 1. They would be paid $250,000 plus all expenses and have an unlimited budget for polling, focus groups and other research. A week later, they were working full time...
The person really in charge [of Yeltsin's campaign] was Yeltsin's daughter Tatiana Dyachenko, 36, a computer engineer with no previous political experience.
The American team hired two young men, Braynin's son Alan and Steven Moore, a public relations specialist from Washington, to assist them. and promptly established its office in a two-room suite at the President Hotel. The Americans lived elsewhere in the hotel and were provided with a car, a former KGB agent as a driver, and two bodyguards...
The Americans managed to hide their identity for many months. In interviewing various polling and focus-group companies before hiring three, they described themselves as representing Americans eager to sell thin-screen televisions in Russia. "That story held for far longer than it ever should have," says Shumate. The Americans carried multiple-entry visas identifying them as working for the "Administration of the President of the Russian Federation," a bit of obviousness that constantly threatened to undermine all the supposed secrecy surrounding their real work.
The President is not a normal hotel. It is owned by the office of the President, and residence is by invitation only. A fence surrounds the property, which is patrolled by police armed with machine guns and wearing bulletproof vests. When Dyachenko moved her own office to the hotel to be near the Americans, the rest of the campaign took three floors of offices there as well. Yeltsin's badly split Russian advisers quickly set up separate fiefdoms on the eighth, ninth and 10th floors. Dyachenko worked almost exclusively on the 11th in Room 1119, directly across the hall from the Americans in 1120. She and they shared two secretaries, a translator, and fax, copying and computer-printing machines.
By the end, the team's office resembled a typical American campaign headquarters. Soda bottles and old food shared space with computer printouts. Graphs charting Yeltsin's progress in the polls hung on the walls, and the entire scene was dominated by a color-coded map of Russia with Post-it notes describing the vote expected in the nation's various regions. A safe stood unused, and documents intended for a shredder remained intact, in plain view.
Gorton followed Dresner to Moscow and encountered in Dyachenko a shy, intelligent and idealistic young woman who for some time recoiled at even the most mild American-style dirty trick. "But it wouldn't be fair," Gorton recalls her saying when he advised that Zyuganov be trailed by heckling "truth squads" designed to goad him into losing his temper. At their first meeting across a long table covered in green felt, Dyachenko confided, "I don't know this business. I don't know what to ask." For a few weeks, says Gorton, "the task was simple education, Campaigning 101, stuff like the proper uses of polling and the need to test via focus groups just about everything the campaign was doing, or thinking of doing."
... A great deal of their communication with Dyachenko and Yeltsin's other aides was conducted by written memorandums. "Translation was a constant problem," says Dresner. "We spent a full day trying to convey what we meant by having Yeltsin stay 'on message.'" Minister Borodin says, "Having the memos let the President consider them calmly. We had many discussions about the recommendations and in the end adopted most everything the Americans advised."
[There was] a campaign-long insistence on a standard American campaign practice —repetition. "Whatever it is that we're going to say and do," Gorton explained to Yeltsin's aides, "we have to repeat it between eight and 12 times." Those numbers were invented. "The Russians believe that anything that's worthwhile is scientifically based," says Shumate. "This gave us a leg up when we started to seriously use focus groups to guide campaign policy, but right at the start it let us pretend that we knew more than we really did. There's no data supporting how many times something needs to be repeated, but the Russians bought it as gospel."
... Most Russians, the polls and focus groups found, perceived Yeltsin as a friend who had betrayed them, a populist who had become imperial. "Stalin had higher positives and lower negatives than Yeltsin," says Dresner. "We actually tested the two in polls and focus groups. More than 60% of the electorate believed Yeltsin was corrupt; more than 65% believed he had wrecked the economy. We were in a deep, deep hole."
In one of the team's early memos, a 10-page document dated March 2, the Americans summed up the situation: "Voters don't approve of the job Yeltsin is doing, don't think things will ever get any better and prefer the Communists' approach. There exists only one very simple strategy for winning: first, becoming the only alternative to the Communists; and second, making the people see that the Communists must be stopped at all costs."
In hindsight, the need for an anticommunist emphasis by the Yeltsin campaign —the need to "go negative"— seems self-evident. But when the Americans first harped on anticommunism as the "only" route to victory, many in the campaign resisted. And despite their status and patronage, the Americans had to fight long and hard before that core strategy was accepted...
In early April Yeltsin gave a major televised speech in which he did not abide by the Americanskis' advice and did not emphasize anticommunism as his message.
Angry about losing the battle over the speech, and certain it represented a disastrous trend in the campaign, the Americans set out to prove their point after the fact. They replayed excerpts of the address —and some other film footage and still photographs of Yeltsin— for an audience of 40 Russians wired to a "perception analyzer," an instrument often used in the U.S. Audiences have their hands on dials and are asked to move them in different directions to indicate their degree of interest and approval of what they are seeing and hearing. An electronically produced chart records their reactions.
The results shocked Yeltsin's Russian assistants... From then on, the American team's influence grew —and anticommunism became the central and repeated focus of the campaign and the candidate.
Having helped establish the campaign's major theme, the Americans then set out to modify it. The Americans used their focus-group coordinator, Alexei Levinson, to determine what exactly Russians most feared about the Communists. Long lines, scarce food and renationalization of property were frequently cited, but mostly people worried about civil war. "That allowed us to move beyond simple Red bashing," says Shumate. "That's why Yeltsin and his surrogates and our advertising all highlighted the possibility of unrest if Yeltsin lost. Many people felt some nostalgia for what the communists had done for Russia and no one liked the President —but they liked the possibility of riots and class warfare even less." "'Stick with Yeltsin and at least you'll have calm' —that was the line we wanted to convey," says Dresner. "So the drumbeat about unrest kept pounding right till the end of the run-off round, when the final TV spots were all about the Soviets' repressive rule."
... The Americans were "vital," says Mikhail Margolev, who coordinated the Yeltsin account at Video International [an advertising firm]. Margolev had worked for five years in two American advertising agencies but freely acknowledges that his methods are still influenced by his earlier tenure as a propaganda specialist for the Soviet Communist Party and as an undercover KGB agent masquerading as a journalist for TASS, the Russian news agency. "The Americans helped teach us Western political-advertising techniques," says Margolev, "and most important, they caused our work to be accepted because they were the only ones really close to Tatiana."
... The TV ad the Americans most wanted was the one the campaign made last, which had Yeltsin himself speaking. "We actually wanted him in every spot," says Gorton. "We wanted the President to come on and say that he understood what they were talking about, that he heard their complaints, that he felt their pain." But Yeltsin resisted--and that caused the team to reach out to Bill Clinton's all-purpose political aide, Dick Morris.
Communicating in code —Clinton was called the Governor of California, Yeltsin the Governor of Texas— the Americans sought Morris' help. They had earlier worked together to script Clinton's summit meeting with Yeltsin in mid-April. The main goal then was to have Clinton swallow hard and say nothing as Yeltsin lectured him about Russia's great-power prerogatives. "The idea was to have Yeltsin stand up to the West, just like the Communists insisted they would do if Zyuganov won," says a Clinton Administration official. "By having Yeltsin posture during that summit without Clinton's getting bent out of shape, Yeltsin portrayed himself as a leader to be reckoned with. That helped Yeltsin in Russia, and we were for Yeltsin."
The American team wanted Clinton to call Yeltsin to urge that he appear in his ads. The request reached Clinton —that much is known— but no one will say whether the call was made. Yet it was not long before Yeltsin finally appeared on the tube...
Yeltsin also had problems with his regular TV coverage, even though he essentially controlled the state-run networks... "It was ludicrous to control the two major nationwide television stations and not have them bend to your will," says Dresner... Beginning in April, Russia's television became a virtual arm of the Yeltsin campaign, a crucial change that actually came fairly easily. With none of the more democratic candidates breaking through in the polls, most Russian journalists came to regard Yeltsin as the only effective bulwark against the Communists —and thus the best guarantor of their own careers...
Each day brought decisions on details that required careful thought and management. The Americans advised on staging crowds (and government employees were regularly instructed to attend Yeltsin's rallies). They conceived Russia's first-ever serious direct-mail effort (a letter from Yeltsin to Russian veterans thanking them for their service). They designed a campaign to use Yeltsin's wife Naina on the stump, where she was regularly well received. And they fought continuously all suggestions that Yeltsin debate Zyuganov. "He would have lost," Gorton says simply.
The possibility of Yeltsin losing led his closest aide, General Alexander Korzhakov, to suggest that the election be postponed. Gorton argued against this undemocratic ploy because his polling showed his client leading by 10 points. One wonders how he would have argued if his client had been down 10 points.
... The President's three democratic opponents had long talked of coalescing behind one or the other of them, and the speculation reached a fever pitch at the beginning of May. Had "they managed that," says Gorton, "it could really have killed us." A good deal of time was devoted to strategizing about how Yeltsin could stop the so-called "third force" from emerging.
On election day
A bit of relief came when a CNN correspondent reported that "the only thing voters we've spoken with like less than Yeltsin is the prospect of upheaval." Dresner howled. "It worked," he shouted. "The whole strategy worked. They're scared to death!" After months being cooped up in the President Hotel wearing blue jeans, sneakers and PETE WILSON FOR PRESIDENT T-shirts, the Americans headed for the building where Russia's central election commission would be announcing the results as they came in. "The hell with security," Dresner said. "I want to see this." And there they sat near the back of the auditorium, six guys in suits with computer projections in their hands and a lap-top computer. The place was overrun with reporters, but Yeltsin's secret American advisers were never recognized.
The final tally for the first round showed that Yeltsin had edged out Zyuganov 35% to 32% (the Communists had indeed been held to the level they reached in December). Gorton began drafting a memo designed to guide Yeltsin's remarks, and Dresner began plotting 20 emergency focus groups to determine what voters were thinking. In less than an hour, another memo was written urging the quickest possible runoff date. "We've got to try and keep Zyuganov from capitalizing" on the first round's surprise tightness, Shumate said. "July 3 would be good," said Gorton. "That's about as soon as possible, and it's in the middle of the week so that people will be in town rather than at their dachas." "We need turnout," Dresner said over and over.
Why, with unlimited funds, expert advice and the media in his pocket, did Yeltsin win the first round by only three points? The Americans identify several points:
(•) The continuing underlying hostility toward Yeltsin. "He never overcame the fact that most Russians can't stand him," says Dresner...
(•) A slackening of the Yeltsin campaign's anticommunist message in the last 10 days. The Americans had advised "that you cannot hit hard enough, or long enough, the idea of the communists' bringing civil unrest if they win." In the first round, says Shumate, "the repetition lesson never took completely."
... The first round's closeness guaranteed that the two-week runoff campaign would be conducted with care, regardless of the predictions that Yeltsin couldn't lose. The Americans' insistence on the anticommunist message was pursued with a vengeance. At the end, Yeltsin's television advertising was almost exclusively a nonstop diet of past Soviet horrors. Lebed's law-and-order theme dovetailed nicely with the pre-existing Yeltsin emphasis on preserving stability. Several bogus poll predictions were put forth to make the race seem close and thus increase turnout.
Gorton predicts to Kramer of Time that the Russians will deny that his team enabled Yeltsin to triumph. And sure enough, a New York Times story by Alessandra Stanley July 9, 1996 (when Time Magazine hit the stands), questions the role the US consultants had played in Yeltsin's victory. Stanley portrays Russians involved in the campaign portraying Gorton and crew as self-promoters who had not been involved in the key decisions.
Stanley revisited the subject in 2004 when Showtime aired a movie, "Spinning Boris," starring Jeff Goldblum as George Gorton. This is how she sums up the plot:
In the movie the three men conduct focus groups and quickly realize that Mr. Yeltsin's only hope is to ''go negative'' and paint his Communist opponent, Gennadi A. Zyuganov, as a step back to Bolshevism and unrest. (‘It's the civil war, stupid,’ one of them jokes.) Using American tricks of the trade —advance men, planted hecklers and negative ads— the Californians single-handedly devise a winning strategy that overcomes their candidate's abysmal approval ratings and his habit of appearing intoxicated at public events.
Stanley's 2004 piece notes that Gorton, Shumate and Dresner "most recently helped elect Arnold Schwarzenegger governor of California." She adds her own trenchant commentary on Yeltsin's victory in 1996:
The Americans' poll analysis and focus group research helped shape Mr. Yeltsin's campaign strategy, but it was money that tipped the balance. The Faustian bargain that reformers like Anatoly B. Chubais made with Russia's new class of robber barons, or oligarchs, got Mr. Yeltsin re-elected and also spawned a second wave of crooked privatization deals, Kremlin favoritism and media control that discredited Russian capitalism. The reformers perverted Russian democracy to save it, paving the way for the neo-Soviet leadership of President Vladimir V. Putin, whose bid for re-election on Sunday is only nominally contested.
What means "neo-Soviet?"
* This is but one example of US meddling in foreign elections and it is hardly egregious compared to some recounted by William Blum in "The CIA: a Forgotten History," which covers 1948 (Italy) through 19881 (Nicaragua).
ATTENTION PARANOIDS! It's worse than you thought. Have a look at the excellent, two-part Dutch documentary (in English) on Trump’s Russian connections — money laundering, bankruptcy, shady New York real estate deals, blood diamonds, Netanyahu and more. Produced by Dutch TV outlet ZEMBLA. Both are available via youtube. Google “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump” and look for parts 1 and 2.
Here’s a combo link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdZ-RbL7pmw
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
People seem to get lost in the details of what brought us to the current state of affairs. I submit to you that what is currently going on politically, and within the government is simply a precursor of the madness that will follow. The state of affairs in this country are unprecedented in my experience, and simply point to the mess that will follow. All I can say to the people who post here, is it doesn’t look that good to me. I don’t trust the Gov’t, or the people who have voted Trump in. I saw the results of what happened when “W” was voted in twice, and I doubt that they got any wiser since then. Sorry, but I’m afraid that the majority of this country consists of “low information” people, and I don’t expect any good to come of their decisions. Offline I keep my own counsel, and quietly keep my preparations to myself. No I’m not a survivalist but I’m not stupid either. I’ve done pretty well up to this point, and hope to continue doing well. Fortune favors the prepared. To paraphrase the old Japanese curse, I’m afraid we are going to “live in interesting times”.
WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION TOPS LOBBYING SPENDING THIS YEAR
by Dan Bacher
As is normally the case, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) topped the list of California lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of 2017, spending a total of nearly $1.4 million.
The oil industry trade organization spent $1,387,601.97 from January 1 to March 31, 2017, for “general lobbying,” but zero for California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), according to documents filed with the California Secretary of State. (cal-access.sos.ca.gov/…)
WSPA listed KP Public Affairs in Sacramento and Pillsbury Winthrup Shaw Pittman LLP as the primary lobbying firms that it hired.
The group paid approximately $1 million “to various public relations shops, consulting firms, ad buyers and other expenses that fell into the so-called other payments to influence category. It remained neutral on the tax hike/road repair measure and has been engaged with other high-profile measures to expand cap-and-trade and to accelerate California’s shift to renewable energy,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California, claims that a “well-designed cap-and-trade program" is the “prudent approach” to meeting the state’s climate change targets.” ( www.wspa.org/...“prudent-approach”-meeting-state’s-climate-change)
The rest of the top five lobbying spenders were the Howard Jarvis Tax Association, with $1,387,602 spent; Chevron and its subsidiaries, with $968,370; California State Council of Service Employees, with $868,098; and California Hospital Association. $777,107. The Secretary of State filings featured a total of $75.3 million in spending in the year’s first three months: www.sacbee.com/...
During the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, the oil industry spent a historic $36.1 million to lobby California lawmakers. During the last 6 years, the industry has spent $122 million in Sacramento, more than any other interest group.
The Western States Petroleum Association was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the 2015-16 session.
WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media.
To combat the power of oil industry money in California, a diverse array of activists is organizing an “Oil Money Out, People Power In”march and rally in Sacramento, May 20 from 12 PM to 3 PM. The event will begin and end at the Governor’s Mansion, 1526 H Street.
For more information about the campaign and the upcoming march and rally, please visit: www.oilmoneyout.com
For more information about Big Oil money and power in Sacramento, go to: www.dailykos.com/...
AT HOME WITH CRAIG
Bringing in the Spiritual Mojo
Since setting up my room as a space dedicated to the Tibetan goddess Green Tara, I've been continuously chanting her mantram which is "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Swaha", and fingering my new mala consisting of 6 tourmalated green quartz and 12 golden obsidian beads. Also, have perused You Tube for chanting videos, and found the 17th Karmapa performing the Green Tara sadhana. So, it was with true delight that I visited San Francisco's Kagyu Droden Kunchab for today's Sunday morning program, and discovered that the participants were chanting the same sadhana that I'd been enjoying on You Tube! The booklet which I was given had the same Tibetan and English that I had been viewing (which made sense, since a photograph of the 17th Karmapa was prominent in the shrine room). Following the hour recitation, we had a chat. Explaining the serendipity of it all, everyone enjoyed the fact that in 1979 I was at KDK and volunteered at Scottish Rites Temple as an usher for the Mahakala Puja, officiated by His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche. Also, I'd met the 16th Karmapa in 1977 at Naropa Institute, while taking a Milarepa poetry class from Chogyam Trungpa. Indeed, how auspicious and what great fun that I would reappear at KDK in San Francisco after such a long absence, and I did say hello to Lama Lodo Rinpoche, who is still in charge. Spent the rest of the afternoon at Ocean Beach keeping the mantram going, quietly sitting on a log and drifting in and out of a light samadhi. N.B. There is a KDK Dharma Study Group in Willits; contact Maude Honemann at email@example.com
Craig Louis Stehr
ANY CLAMPERS IN MENDO?
ISO local Clampers
R there, or have there ever been any local Clampers lodges in Mendocino County? Any old Clampers out there, either local or used to be B4 you moved here? Anybody claiming to be descended from Lucinda Jane Saunders? There should be at least one here in Mendocino County!
FROM THE CAPTAIN'S CHAIR, SS MENDO
MAIL ME TO THE GOP
The list of vacancies, due to term expirations and resignations, for County boards and commissions has been updated with new vacancies for the month of June. A list of all new and existing vacancies is available on the County website: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/boardscommissions.htm.
The attached document contains a list of the vacancies that are new.